McLaren Mercedes & ExxonMobil host the 2014 Sci-Tech Challenge at MTC
The McLaren Technology Centre (MTC) played host to the final of the 2014 European Sci-Tech Challenge this week as part of the 20th anniversary of the technology partnership between ExxonMobil and McLaren Mercedes. The initiative, which has been developed by Junior Achievement-Young Enterprise Europe in tandem with ExxonMobil, saw students from nine different countries work together in multi-country teams to solve a tricky engineering problem.
The challenge facing this year’s competitors was to design the safest, fastest and most energy efficient Formula 1 racing car for the 2040 F1 season.
Each of the 12 teams, made up of students from the UK, France, Italy, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands, Russia, Poland and Romania, had just 24 hours to develop their innovative solutions. Help was at hand, however, from a range of ExxonMobil business volunteers, all experts in fuels and lubricants, and young engineers from the McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team, who assisted with chassis design.
They then had to present their proposals to a panel of senior judges from ExxonMobil, McLaren Mercedes, Young Enterprise UK and the University of Surrey who quizzed them on the finer details of their plans.
After much deliberation, the judges declared team ‘Super8’ as the competition winners for their groundbreaking proposal based on a solar-powered electric engine.
Edouardo Maria Mollica from the team Super8 said, “We are absolutely thrilled to have won the Sci-Tech Challenge! As I love physics this was an incredible experience and absolutely inspired me to continue studying science. We mixed well as a team and we worked in an efficient way testing our ideas. Maybe I’ll even be helping out with F1 racing soon!”
Brad Corson, Chairman of ExxonMobil International Limited, said, “It was exciting to see how enthused these young people became with our challenge. Industry needs to do more to show the practical application of a STEM education so that we can nurture these dynamic individuals to become the technology leaders of the future.”
Simon Roberts, Operations Director McLaren Mercedes, said, “Being part of the judging panel was quite an eye opener. I am sure some of the students’ ideas will spark considerable interest from our engineers – and you never know – they may even influence a race winning McLaren in future!”
Jazz Rayet, Young Enterprise UK Board, said “Combining entrepreneurial skills with STEM skills is a vital part of the work we need to do to underpin our economic future. The type of technological entrepreneurialism that this programme fosters is just what we need to close the skills gap and drive forward our future European economies.”
The Sci-Tech Challenge aims to motivate students to consider STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) oriented careers, raise their awareness of the importance of STEM skills and learn how they can be applied in enterprising ways to tackle the challenges of tomorrow. This year’s final followed national heats in which schools from around Europe competed. All of the 65 students competing in the final were members of winning teams at the national heats. Altogether more than 10,000 students across Europe participated in this year’s Sci-Tech Challenge.